Strategic planning and facilitation are skills we employ in a number of different contexts, but never in precisely the same manner from one project to another. Simply stated, strategic planning involves creating plans that seek to move an organization or collaborative from an identified “as-is” state; through describing an “ideal” state; and then actually developing strategies to attain a “can-be” state. Leading such a process demands deep and broad knowledge of the specific subject matter under discussion as well as expert facilitation skills, agility, and process adaptability.
As part of our 25-years of experience in projects focused on organizational change as well as Workforce Development, especially its nexus with education, economic development, and the private sector, Maher & Maher specializes in helping our clients overcome a myriad of challenges and “silos” to align strategies and investments collaboratively in support of shared goals. Most often, those processes are premised upon the need to address a number of related conditions and realities:
The types of goals our clients have vary widely, and so must the planning processes we customize for each project context. For example, In the context of a regional economic/workforce development planning process, we would ordinarily follow a version of the six-step WIRED planning process we assisted ETA in formulating and implementing over the past ten years or so. That process has been adapted and used successfully in projects in Arkansas, Connecticut, and at multiple sites in Iowa.
In our “Community-Based Strategic Planning for Community College” projects, delivered at six different locations over the past seven years, we help colleges formulate an approach that, usually for the first time, involves hearing what the community has to say about what the College does, and how it does it. That input, collected through surveys of internal college as well as external stakeholders, is combined with our data analysis to define the “as-is” state of affairs for the College. We then assist the key stakeholders, including College executives, Board of Trustees, and staff, to formulate goals and strategies to help the College deal effectively with new realities. Sometimes the College wants to play a lead role in regional development; other times it wants to carve a niche to deliver precisely what it does best. Either way, or anywhere in between, our planning process is customized to those desires.